Bucks embarrass Raptors in Game 3
Milwaukee beats Toronto by 27 points to take 2-1 series lead
MILWAUKEE — Kyle Lowry’s seething silence said everything. While DeMar DeRozan answered questions about one of the Raptors’ worst losses in franchise history, Toronto’s all-star point guard leaned back in the chair beside him, his lips pursed, his eyes narrowed in an angry glare.
The Raptors were thoroughly routed by an upstart Milwaukee Bucks team 104-77 on Thursday, and in the moments after the ugly loss Lowry’s body language mirrored his team’s shock and rage.
“We got our ass bust,” Lowry finally said when asked to sum up the Raptors’ performance.
Lowry scored 13 points to top Toronto, while DeRozan went without a field goal in the playoffs for the first time in his career, managing just eight points on 0-for-8 shooting.
Delon Wright had 13 points off the bench, while Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and seven rebounds.
All the pre-game talk was about matching the Bucks’ intensity, but the Raptors did exactly the opposite, digging themselves a first-half hole the size of Wisconsin. Now the Bucks take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series into Saturday’s Game 4 in Milwaukee.
If the Raptors’ confidence took a wallop with the loss, Lowry wasn’t saying so.
“I still think we can win the series,” he said. “It ain’t over. It just sucks right now. It’s a terrible night right now. It’s a terrible feeling the way we just got our ass beat. Terrible feeling. So we’d better pick it up. If not, it’s going to be a terrible feeling again. But our confidence has not changed. We’ll be fine. We’ve got to come out there and do what we gotta do Saturday.”
Khris Middleton scored 20 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 points to lead the Bucks, who are making their first playoff appearance in two seasons.
Introduced to the theme music of Barney, it was all downhill from that point for Toronto.
Milwaukee’s motto is Fear the Deer, and the Bucks, with a young starting lineup that includes two rookies and a 22-year-old star in Antetokounmpo, had the Raptors running scared from the opening tip-off. They looked completely out of sorts, unable to make a shot or a pass — DeRozan uncharacteristically fired a pass to nobody that was caught by a fan.
Asked for an answer, coach Dwane Casey said: “There’s none.”
“It starts with us, myself as a coach as far as having them ready to play in a hostile environment,” Casey said. “They ambushed us, and there’s no aspect of our game that we executed whatsoever.”
The Raptors, who are notoriously slow starters anyway, managed just 12 points in the opening quarter, the second lowest in franchise playoff history. (They managed just nine points versus Detroit in 2002).
The massacre stretched into the second, and when Middleton scored on a free throw late in the first half it put the Bucks up by a whopping 32 points. Wright drained a three-pointer two seconds before the break, and the Raptors trudged into halftime down 57-30 — just four points shy of their biggest halftime deficit in playoff history — 31 points last year in Game 5 of the Eastern finals against Cleveland.
CAVS 119, PACERS 114
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers set an NBA post-season record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday night and take a 3-0 series lead.
“We knew we had to take (some) punches, but it was a flurry, more than we expected,” James said. “At halftime, I was just looking at the guys and telling them ‘Let’s get a couple stops.’”
Cleveland was down 74-49 at halftime. The largest halftime deficit overcome previously was 21 points, by Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948.
James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the NBA’s career playoff scoring list and tied another NBA record by winning his 20th consecutive first-round game.
The rally ruined Paul George’s big night. He had 36 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
Game 4 goes Sunday.
Five members of the Toronto Raptors watch Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo throw down a dunk duringGame3oftheirNBAplayoffseriesonThursdayinMilwaukee.TheBuckswon104-77.